Located between the boundaries of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales in the Cabusilan Mountains on the island of Luzon is where you can witness an active compound volcano called Mount Pinatubo, also known as “Bundok ng Pinatubo” or “Bulkang Pinatubo” in Filipino language.
In 1991, its eruption was recorded as by far the largest volcanic activity that took place in a densely populated area. It was extremely traumatic as it produced pyroclastic materials, giant mudflows and dark bed of clouds while it slowly grabbed the lives of every families who tried to evade the catastrophe.
The aftermath of this eruption unbearably escalated the death toll as Typhoon Yunya reached the area amplifying the effect of the disaster. Its effect also manifested on the agricultural livelihood of the locals while the entire nation felt the economic and social distress.
Although 25 years had already passed, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo did not miss to leave a trace – the ‘lahar’. As this ‘lahar’ solidified and contoured the affected area, it is very inspiring to see and meet the resilient Filipinos of Central Luzon as they welcome all tourists who would want to see the beauty and calmness of Mount Pinatubo today.
Getting to Mount Pinatubo
My friends and I decided not to make a DIY travel to Mount Pinatubo as we were suspecting the hassle of transferring from one PUV to another. In other words, we sought an assistance from a tour operator – Filipino Travel Center. Though we opted to have a private tour, I still did my research about heading to Brgy. Sta Juliana, the starting point of Pinatubo Trek. So, here it is:
Take a bus (Fivestar Bus Line) heading to Capas, Tarlac. Get off at Mc Donald’s in Capas. You may be wondering which Mc Donald’s branch you need to drop-off. I may not be able to remember but you can always ask the bus conductor/driver to drop you off at the right branch. Beside Mc Donald’s Capas, you can hire a tricycle for around 26 km ride to the tourism office in Brgy. Sta. Juliana.
The tourism office in Brgy. Sta. Juliana is the starting point of the Pinatubo Trek and you must remember to complete the registration and leave the place on or before 6:00am. Otherwise, you may be asked to return the following day as they do not allow tourists to start their trekking later than the said time for safety reasons.
Travel Expense (Php 2,850.00)
As mentioned earlier, we sought Filipino Travel Center’s assistance for the sake of convenience. We had 10 members in the group and availed the tour operator’s promo for 10 pax with a visit to Capas Shrine.
Private Van, fuel, toll, tourist guide, 4X4 fees – Php 2,650.00
Visit to Capas Shrine (Php 500/10 pax) – Php 50.00
Food and Water – Php 150.00
The price of this tour may really vary depending on the number of your squad members. If you want to check the promo rates of Filipino Travel Center, please click here.
It was my 3rd trekking experience but my friends and I all agreed that we were caught off guard because of the need to exert more effort walking on the sand. Be that as it may, the over-all experience was awesome! Seeing the grandeur of Pinatubo lake at the end of the course pays off the pain of walking on the sand while under the scorching heat of the sun. Indeed, it was another paradise that our country must be proud of.
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“Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints…”